Did you know that mental illness affects one in four people today? Despite this terrifying reality, it seems that people take physical diseases much more seriously than mental illnesses.
The reason for this is that we can actually see the wounds or symptoms of physical diseases, while for mental illness the symptoms are elusive at the best of times.
But just because things look fine on the surface doesn’t mean that sufferers of mental illness aren’t going through a significant amount of pain. Keep in mind that mental illness can happen to anyone, no matter how joyful or optimistic they may appear.
One of the most common misconceptions about mental illness is that people who have it lack the willpower to overcome their problems. This is incredibly inconsiderate and counterproductive to the person who is suffering from mental illness.
This misconception is brilliantly shown in this comic below by Robot Hugs.
When you give advice to someone suffering from mental illness based on wrong assumptions, you end up doing more harm than good. Those suffering from mental illness often feel misunderstood, which results in them withdrawing even more and suffering in silence.
Another common misconception about mental illness is that the illness manifests in the same ways for different people. The assumption is that a label makes diagnosis easy and coming up with a solution just a logical process to figure out. Yet very often people with mental illness are high functioning individuals and the condition they’re suffering is incredibly unique. This makes it even more difficult to figure out what is going on.
How you can help
The best way you can help anyone going through mental illness is to take the time to truly understand a person’s challenges without any assumptions or judgments. Make your loved ones feel loved and supported in a compassionate manner.
Professional help is required in many cases, yet the support offered by a family and closed friends is invaluable to the process of recovery even when therapy is involved.
If you or someone you know is experiencing mental illness, we recommend consulting a professional. You can also consider some online resources which we recommend for working on your own personal growth:
- CBT for Depression, Anxiety, Phobias and Panic Attacks
- Ten Powerful Tools to Overcome Anxiety and Reclaim Your Life
- Overcome Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Originally published on The Power of Ideas.